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Trip reports - Pakhangyi monastery

Pakhangyi monastery - Yesagyo (12 June 2003)
Click to see location map and roads

Pakhangyi monastery Pakhangyi region, in Yesagyo Township in the west bank of Chindwin (and Ayeyarwaddy) river in central Myanmar, is rich in traditional cultural handiworks. Among so many ancient buildings in the region, ancient Pakhangyi monastery is a well known building which was constructed by King Mindon in 1886. The monastery was built in the shape of a royal residence attached with four large halls namely the Shrine hall, the Sanu hall, the main hall and the Bawga hall.

It was an important Buddhist teaching school in the old times. Monks and people from many places come to study in Pakhangyi monastery.

Stair case and entrance The banisters of the five brick staircases of the monastery were decorated with the artistic work of reliefs with stucco. The magnificent monastery is a wooden building with 254 huge wooden pillars. All the pillars are set on brick plinths. Board bands added as exterior trim to conceal floor edges, and joints were inserted fittingly into the pillars as in most of the ancient Myanmar buildings. Tie-beams of the tiers on the monastery were inflated into the pillars without nailing.

The ruining monastery was repaired in 1992 according to its ancient original form. Wooden pillars along the corridors of the monastery were decorated with cement screens. Doors and windows were also adorned with superb craftsmanship of Yadanabon period.

Door ways Doors and windows had no hinges but chains and revolving mechanism of axis were used in place of the hinges. Each pillar of the monastery was 90 feet high without joints and its circumference was 8 feet.

Partitions reaching from the floor to the ceiling in the hall of the monastery were also adorned with diamond shape figures.The dais for monks of the ancient monastery was decorated with various types of elegant wood carvings similar to that of Ramayana Jataka.

Wooden pillars The Jataka is played in India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Nepal, Indonesia, Malaysia and other South-East Asian countries in their own styles as well as in Myanmar where the dance styles of the Jataka were carved in wooden handicrafts.

Myanmars in the ancient times used to chew squid of betel hence holes for spitting betel spittle could be seen in the floor of the monastery.


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